mobile paymentMore than half of consumers in North America have some mobile payment awareness, yet less than 1 in 5 (18 percent) use their mobile phones or other devices at least once a week to pay for goods or services using it, according to new market research results from Accenture.

Mobile payment awareness is growing, according to the results of Accenture’s survey of 4,000 smartphone users in the U.S. and Canada, which is part of its ¨2015 North America Consumer Digital Payments Survey¨ report. Fifty-two percent of North American consumers know they can use their smartphones as a payment device – 10 percent above the number measured last year. Nonetheless, the percentage that actually take advantage of mobile payments technology was flat, rising just 1 percent.

Mobile Payment Awareness
Accenture identified two groups of mobile payments early adopters: high-income consumers (household incomes of $150K or more) and young adult Millennials. Nearly 4 in 10 (38 percent) of the former use mobile payments technology at least weekly. Nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) of Millennials ages 18-34 do likewise. Those percentages compare to less than 1 in 5 (18 percent) for other age groups.

“Though it’s clear that consumers are aware that they can make payments through their phones, continued use of existing payment methods – such as credit cards and cash – and slow retail adoption of modern card readers have caused usage levels to remain stagnant over the last year,” Robert Flynn, managing director for Accenture Payment Services in North America, was quoted as saying.

“This is a clear indicator to banks and retailers that although the digital transformation in payments is progressing, there is still a long way to go before we reach broad market adoption.”

As part of its market research, Accenture also delved into consumer payment preferences and habits in an effort to look into the future of mobile payments technology and consumer adoption out to 2020. Providing security incentives and offering consumers rewards are two ways Accenture suggests for boosting mobile payments adoption and use.

Nearly 8 in 10 (79 percent) of end-users who make use of mobile payments said they would increase it if they were offered discounts or coupons based on their purchasing history. Almost the same number (78 percent) said they would use mobile payments more if they received reward points for doing so.

Furthermore, more than half of non-users said they would start making mobile payments if they were offered price discounts or coupons (54 percent) or reward points (53 percent).

Among mobile payments services, Apple Pay is leading the pack. One year since its launch, Apple Pay accounted for just over two-thirds (68 percent) of total mobile payments made in U.S. stores, according to Accenture.

Wearables and Connected Cars
Accenture also found interest in wearable or connected payment devices and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. One in 5 consumers said they have used a wearable device to make a payment at least once. The same percentage said they were interested in making payments through smart connected devices or equipment, including a smart appliance or smart car.

Turning to P2P payments, Accenture found more than 2 in 5 consumers surveyed (42 percent) said they had used P2P payment apps. Fifteen percent said they made P2P payments weekly.

“We’re at the edge of a new frontier for connected commerce and just beginning to see some of the possibilities it offers,” David Edmondson, senior managing director of Accenture’s Banking industry practice for North America, was quoted as saying.

“With almost half of North Americans still using traditional checks to make payments to other consumers, P2P payments remains poised for potentially strong growth. Overall, integrating payments with the power that Internet-of-Things technologies can offer promises to usher in a new era of consumer product innovation and retail merchandising.”

Image courtesy of flickr user Vodafone Medien.

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